“After the vote failed, there was a loud round of applause from Republicans.”
Fifty Republicans and two Democrats had just buried the vitally important effort to kill the filibuster so the Senate could get to the voting rights bill. And they applauded!
How in Hell can you be proud of yourself when your vote actually helped deprive possibly several million voters of the basic franchise of citizenship? How do you go home, put your head on the pillow and enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing what you just did allows some states to continue denying access to the ballot box to whomever they choose?
How do you do that?
Since SCOTUS “gutted” the current voting rights act 13 years ago (Shelby vs Holder) at least half-a-dozen states are either kicking people off voter rolls or denying access. One state has actually removed ballot boxes in a large, rural county. All but one!
Imagine the result. If the only place you could vote in your county was, say, 140 miles away, would you go there? A 280 mile trip just to vote? Would you do it? Or, maybe you don’t drive. Maybe there’s no one who can take that much time off to drive you.
The original voting rights act, at that time, had a provision that made certain states submit their voting plans to SCOTUS for review before each election. That was because each had practiced years of voter intimidation or discrimination. The named states were the usual culprits: Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida. Etc.. Each had a bad history dealing with voters, especially Black voters. The Act contained that provision at that time.
Some nine years ago, Chief Justice Roberts - and crew - effectively erased that paragraph. Roberts (in)famously wrote the named states had shown “no recent problems” - they’d ‘reformed,’ in his opinion. There was no need for continuing the review of plans for upcoming elections. Life was good.
Before the ink on that opinion had dried, Georgia and North Carolina openly got to work to restrict access and require special voter identifications. Within one election cycle, restrictions were back in place. Voters - especially Black and Brown voters - were feeling the effects of new laws limiting their participation.
So, some new restrictions and ID hurdles are back. Worse than before. We all know it. SCOTUS denizens know it. Even Roberts knows it!
Nothing. Not a word. Not. A. Word!
So, Democrats came up with an extensive package of proposed laws to put things on the right track. A new set of requirements for states which - taken together - would put a stop to what certain of them were doing.
But...50 Republicans and two Democrats scuttled the whole damned effort by protecting the filibuster. 52-48. Sen. Paul, for example, can just dial up the Majority Leader and invoke the filibuster to stop voting legislation - or ANY legislation- in its tracks. He has and he will.
So, what now? It appears miscreant states are free to keep doing their dirty work - to keep denying access to certain voters - to set up any barriers their creative minds can create. Republicans in Congress have dropped the axe and SCOTUS is silent. What now?
I can’t speak to what Democrats in West Virginia are doing to deal with Manchin. Here, in the desert, Democrats have several promising candidates to take on Sinema in the 2024 primary. Open opposition to her continued “service” is gathering dollars. We’re working on it.
But, 50 Republicans “flipped the bird” to mostly Black and Brown folks, kept the filibuster, stopped the voting rights bill. Just said “NO” and went home to bed after a late session.
“Home to bed.” How do you sleep - much less live with yourself - after what you did? Crapo, Risch, Lee, Romney, Murkowski, McConnell, Thune et al.. A unanimous “finger-in-the-eye” of democracy. There will be repercussions for years after what they did. Millions of legal voters will be “ruled out” by bad-acting states. The most valued right of United States citizenship will be unavailable to them because of those irresponsible votes.
I have no idea what to do in the face of such flagrant disregard by politicians for their fellow citizens. Fifty-two. All of whom were elected. Elected by their constituents. Many of whom may not be allowed to vote the next go-round. How’s that for irony?
Oh, they’ll sleep well, those 52. But, I’ll be damned if I know how they’ll do it.
“And they applauded.” Damn!